The Riverside metropolitan area’s only Meals on Wheels delivery service for homebound seniors will be hosting a mini carnival fundraiser Thursday to raise money for the organization, as it works overtime to keep up with demand.

“Many people do not realize that our clients sign up and pay for these nutritious meals,” Meals on Wheels Riverside President Judy Teunissen said. “These are the residents who do not qualify for subsidized meals, but need our help because some of them are unable to leave their homes.”

The fundraiser is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. Thursday behind Teunissen’s home at 2006 Adams St., Riverside.

Attendees will enjoy a Ferris wheel, outdoor games, hand-dipped ice cream, cotton candy, a cigar bar and whiskey-tasting booth, according to organizers. An auction is also planned, and the Riverside County Department of Animal Services will be supplying a homeless puppy for people to play with and, hopefully, adopt during the event.

Teunissen said only two-part time employees work for Meals on Wheels Riverside, and the organization otherwise relies on 140 volunteers to deliver food plates to homes in Corona, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Norco and Riverside.

She did not say how many clients the nonprofit picked up during the public health lockdowns.

“We’re functioning with very low overhead, and that’s why we’re hopeful we’ll see a great turnout for our first event in several years,” Teunissen said. “And if people are not available Thursday, a small donation is always appreciated.”

More information is available at Meals on Wheels Riverside can be contacted at 951-683-7151.

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